African Folklore: By The Shores Of Abaniocha |By Chuka Nduneseokwu

Far away in the land of Umunneni, close to the great Abaniocha River, there lived a young maiden named Adaugo. Her mother was a mermaid. Adaugo was born on the night of the red full moon on the shores of the Abaniocha River.

Her hair was dark as ogili and was so long that it touched the tips of her waist. She was as tall as a warrior and as curvy and thick as the ‘Eke’ snake. When she walked, the trees and plants mimicked the movement of her body and waved their leaves in excitement.

On the night she was born, the entire river steamed and glittered like gold and all the mermaids and water creatures came out to sing to her conception. Their songs went up into every corner of the village and all the warriors came out with the Obi of Umunneni to watch and marvel at the beauty and grace of the mermaids.

Adaugo’s mother was the queen-mother of the mermaids and was the most beautiful of them all. Her smile and face could enchant gods and spirits, for she was as fair as the sun, Anyanwu and as calm as the moon, Onwa. She was loved by the women of Umunneni, for she was believed to be their guide and strength during childbirth; they were renowned for their calmness during delivery.

The queen of the mermaids would absorb all the pain and the women would deliver their children without crying. She could live on land as well as in the water. She was fond of taking long walks around the village at night. The elders of Umunneni and the neighboring villages would usually tell their children tales of how Adaugo’s mother was sent by the gods, to protect their people from a disease that had almost wiped them out centuries ago.

They told tales of how the queen of the mermaids blessed the Abaniocha River and gave them to drink. Her name was Nnediocha, and her ability to live in the river and on land marveled every Obi of Umunneni. Throughout the history of their people, every new Obi tried to take her hand in marriage, but all failed. And so it was to the surprise of her sister mermaids and the Chief Priest of Umunneni that Nnediocha fell in love with the village drunkard; his name was Obika and he was later to be Adaugu’s father.

Obika was the village drunkard. He was renowned in the entire village for his love for Nkwu Enu, palm wine, which he tapped by himself. He had the sweetest Nkwu Enu in the whole of Umunneni. He would always sell half of his wine to his numerous customers and then spend the evening drinking the other half under the Udara tree at the market square.

After he must have had the last horn of his Nkwu Enu, he would stagger back, singing to the hearing of those that lived by his way home. He sang praises of himself, extolling his beauty and palm wine tapping skills. He would always stop at the banks of the Abaniocha River, to wash his crocodile skin bag, with which he carried his personal Nkwu Enu.

And while he washed, he would sing to the mermaids, hailing their beauty and calmness. It was on one of those nights that Nnediocha came ashore to watch and listen to him sing. He sang and praised her, calling her the most beautiful woman in the galaxy; the daughter of the gods and the dream of all men.

He sang soulfully and didn’t know that she was watching him. His simplicity and handsomeness made Nnediocha blush. The entire river started to bubble when tears dropped from her eyes and touched the surface. At that point, Obika looked up and noticed that she had been watching him sing. He looked into her eyes and at that very instant he lost himself to her essence and charm.

He immediately walked into the river to meet her. She too swam towards him with the river bubbling aggressively between them. That night they made love on the shores of the river and the moon stopped above their heads till dawn.

Their love was one like no other. Obika would visit Nnediocha every evening to sing to her and wash his Nkwu Enu bag. On one of the nights, they were drinking some of Obika’s Nkwu Enu and were laughing at the top of their voices when the chief priest, Ogwugwu, saw them. He was passing to the shrine of Anyanwu and was shocked at the sight.

To him, it seemed impossible for the village drunkard to be chosen as a lover by Nnediocha. He bowed down in greeting to Nnediocha and praised her beauty. She smiled and greeted him too and also enquired from him if all was well in the land. He told her that all was well and that he was on his way to the shrine of Anyanwu to carry out divination for the next planting season.

After they had finished exchanging pleasantries the chief priest went his way without saying a word to Obika. The next day, news went around the village of Umunneni and beyond, that Obika, the drunkard had seduced Nnediocha. Before long, Obika became more popular and his name was used for discussions in marketplaces and Nkwu Enu outlets. But he went about his business of tapping, selling and drinking his Nkwu Enu without a care in the world.

His romance with Nnediocha was no longer a surprise to anyone because she would go to visit him at his house in the late hours of the night. Whenever she walked, she was always accompanied by her pet crocodiles which were as big as a lion. On one of the nights she went to see Obika, she met his absence and his entire house burnt to the ground.

She called out to him but Obika was nowhere to be found. In anger, she left the house and headed straight to the chief priest’s home. On getting there, she screamed his name so loudly that the trees around bent and broke their branches. Ogwugwu, the chief priest came out in fear and greeted Nnediocha.

He asked her if all was well that she had come to his home with so much venom and anger. She replied and told him that her love, Obika, was missing and that his house had been burnt to the ground. At this, Ogwugwu was surprised and promised her that he knew nothing about Obika’s disappearance. Nnediocha then asked him to assemble the entire village at the market square the next morning.

And that he was to tell them that she, Nnediocha, will curse their land if Obika was not returned to her in two market days. After she said that, she left angrily. Half of the moon above them turned red and the other half turned white. She walked back to the Abaniocha River in tears for her heart was heavy.

When she got into the river with her crocodiles, the entire water turned black and started to steam. Her anger was felt all around the banks of the Abaiocha River and the grasses on the shores started to die off. Her sister mermaids tried to console her but her pain was so deep that it reached the abode of the gods. Igwe, the sky god, answered her cries with thunder and continues lightening.

That night Ogwugwu went around the entire village, visiting all the elders of Umunneni, before he retired at the palace of Ezenneni, the Obi of Umunneni. He told the Obi everything the mermaid queen had told him and how her anger was responsible for the annoyance of Igwe, which had resulted in the heavy thunders and lightning; and also why Onwa, the mood goddess was angry and was half red.

Ezenneni, who was a great admirer of Nnediocha could not hold back his rage and so he summoned his warriors and chief messengers. He asked them to go to Obika’s clan and round up every young man and woman who lived around his compound and bring them back to his compound that night.

The warriors left immediately, and on getting to Obika’s clan, they did as they had been instructed. Later that night, the Obi’s palace was crowded with young men and women, questioning the warriors on why they were awoken from their sleep and brought to the palace. Ezenneni was not a man who offended the gods and deities of the Igbo, so he intended on getting to the route of the matter that night.

While the young men and women murmured amongst themselves, Ezenneni and Ogwugwu walked out of the shrine belonging to the earth goddess, Ani, and approached them. Ogwugwu who was still tensed from Nnediocha’s visit greeted the youths who were gathered and immediately enquired from them who kidnapped Obika and burnt his house. At his question they all became quiet, and the sound of the crickets crying at the market square could be heard from where Ogwugwu stood.

He repeated his question but was again met with a deeper silence. Ogwugwu was greatly angered and worried and threatened that they would all drink the urine of a virgin girl and swear by the goddess Ani. He promised them that whoever was guilty would die instantly, only after confessing of what he or she knew of Obika’s disappearance.

At the mention of the oath, they all started murmuring to themselves. Ogwugwu went into the shrine to fetch the urine for the oath. Some of the youths then started begging Ezenneni to intervene and stop Ogwugwu from making them swear the oath. It was the most dreaded oath in the entire region. Ezenneni was about to answer them when a fierce lightning stroke one of the young men and killed him instantly.

His name was Obumneme, and he was a cousin to the missing Obika. At the sight of Obumneme’s lifeless body, another young man, Offorbuike, fell to the ground and started crying. He crawled on his belly to where Ezenneni stood and begged for forgiveness. He asked Ezenneni to intercede for him to the gods for what he had done to Obika, and that he was willing to confess.

Everyone around him was surprised that he had a hand in Obika’s disappearance, for he was one of Obika’s closest friends and relatives. Ogwugwu came out from the shrine only to meet Offorbuike weeping on the wet ground and Obumneme’s lifeless body lying at another corner of the palace.

He was not surprised for he knew that the gods were angry and that sooner or later the truth would be unraveled. At the sight of Ogwugwu, Offorbuike cried out louder and begged him not to make him swear the oath. He promised that he would tell them the part he played in Obika’s disappearance and burnt house.

Ezenneni, who was now a little satisfied with the knowledge that he and his people would not face the wrath and anger of the gods, asked the warriors to release the other members of Obika’s clan and return them safely to their homes. He ordered that Offorbuike is tied to the tree at the entrance of the shrine of Ani. He was to be left there, till the next morning when he would confess in front of Nnediocha and the entire Umunneni people at the village square.

That night Ogwugwu did not sleep; he stayed up divining and praying to the gods Anyanwu, Igwe, Onwa, Ani and the spirits of their ancestors. His prayers reached the ears of Igwe, the god of the skies, and the lightning and hailstorm began to reduce towards dawn. At the first cockcrow, Ogwugwu left for the Abaniocha River and walked as fast as his feet could carry him.

On getting to the banks of the river he came upon dead antelopes and wild goats that had come to drink from the river that morning. The grasses were all dead and the entire river was dark. The water surface released steam which made the powerful Ogwugwu scared to go closer. And so he dropped his bag and quickly made a fire and surrounded it with four stones.

The stones represented the four elements of creation – water, fire, air, and sand. He sat down by the fire and then brought out his flute which he usually used to call on the spirits of their fathers. After blowing his flute for a few moments, he raised his voice and called out to the mermaid queen, praising her beauty and her power.

He blew the tunes of the goddess of the moon, Onwa, who was Nnediocha’s mother. He stopped in-between his music to tell the mermaid queen that there was good news and how they had uncovered one of the men who kidnapped Obika. He told her that the young man was going to confess that morning at the market square.

He put back his flute on his lips to continue blowing when the water before him exploded into bubbles. Nnediocha emerged from the depths of the Abaniocha River with her crocodiles flanking her from all sides. Her body glowed as if the sun was beneath her skin, and even in her anger, Ogwugwu was still enthralled by her beauty.

She came unto the banks of the river and greeted Ogwugwu, who stood and smiled at her and her sister mermaids; they had all come out to hear the good news which he had brought. She immediately asked Ogwugwu to narrate to her everything that had transpired over the night. She sat down beside him by the fire and rubbed her tummy.

Ogwugwu, hastily told her how they rounded up every young person in his clan and how one of Obika’s close relatives had confessed to kidnapping him. At this, Nnediocha became uneasy and enquired if he said anything about where Obika was. Ogwugwu wiggled his head in a gesture which meant no and told her that the Obi wanted him to confess in front of her and the entire Umunneni people.

She let out a mild smile, immediately rose to her feet and demanded that they left for the market square at once. Two of her mermaids, Mmirioma and Egwuoma came out of the water and volunteered to follow Nnediocha to the market square. They were custodians of fresh drinking water and music respectively. She agreed to their request and so they left in the company of Ogwugwu and seven of her crocodiles.

Meanwhile, the Ezenneni’s messengers had gone round that morning and informed the entire villagers of Umunneni that their presence was required at the market square. The news of Obika’s disappearance and the burning of his house had gone around the entire village that morning. Those who were arrested the previous night had told their fellow clansmen of what had transpired at the Obi’s palace.

They narrated how the god, Igwe, struck down one of the men who was involved in Obika’s kidnap. Ezenneni, and his entourage of Ndi Ichie were already seated at their own corner of the market square, under a three-hundred-year-old Orgi tree, eating kola nuts and drinking Nkwu Enu. Offorbuike was already tied to the tree of atonement, where everyone who went against the rules of the people was brought for judgment and penance.

While they all waited, they could hear the tunes from Ogwugwu’s flute from afar and the sound of a great many birds singing to the music he made. The Eagles which dwelt deep inside the Nneni forest, atop the two hundred feet Orgi trees had arrived and were flying over the market square. Their shadows appeared huge beneath the light of the full moon.

The moon had refused to go back inside and the sun too was just rising, and so both mystical beings stood together to watch what their daughter, Nnediocha, would do. The goddess of the Moon, Onwa, and the god of the Sun, Anyanwu, were born and created on the same day by Chukwu Okike, the benevolent creator.

One was to rule the day and the other to rule the night; but on this dawn, they both stood side by side to the amazement of the people of Umunneni and the entire Igbo land. In the nearby villages, people came out to stare at the moon and the sun and the color which they produced in the sky. Some of the diviners and fortune tellers from neighboring villages had read the signs and were following the Eagles and birds to Umunneni.

Nnediocha did not walk as fast as she used to, for she was pregnant; she walked calmly and gracefully with her entire entourage. Soon they got to the last stretch of road leading to the market square where they met the maidens of justice. The maidens served at the shrine of the goddess, Ani. They approached Nnediocha, greeted her and threw palm fronds on the ground before her.

They were very close to her heart for she was always amazed at their beauty and the grace with which they sang. She was thanking them for coming to receive her when they all walked into the market square. Everyone waved at her when she entered, and Ezenneni, the Obi walked towards her and greeted her.

He bowed his head and praised her beauty, and gave her a young tortoise as a gift. She thanked him and immediately asked him to show her to Offorbuike for it was important they knew where Obika was. The king agreed at once and they both walked towards Offorbuike, who was soaked in his own tears and trembled at the presence of Nnediocha. She got to where he was tied and looked at him with so much anger and then asked him to tell them at once what he did to Obika, who his accomplices were and where they had kept him.

Offorbuike hurriedly cleaned off the tears from his eyes and knelt down before Nnediocha. She was then sitting on the back of one of her crocodiles, fondly called Agummili by the mermaids. Offorbuike then began to narrate what had led to Obika’s kidnap. He told them that he and the dead Obumneme, who was very close to Obika, got jealous of his success and skill in tapping Nkwu Enu.

He said that the jealousy heightened when he became the lover of Nnediocha, the mermaid queen. He said Obika stopped coming to visit them and stopped going with them to visit the young maidens who they admired. And so that angered them, for they felt he was now better than them, and so they plotted with some hunters from the neighboring Umudike village to kidnap and kill him.

They met him on his way out of his hut, grabbed him, tied him up and then took him through hidden bush paths to the forests of Nneni. He said Obika’s hut caught fire while he wrestled with one of his abductors and broke the oil lamb which they carried. The broken lamp fell on the straw which stood by his climbing rope and set the entire hut on fire. Offorbuike said he and Obumneme paid the hunters of Umudike and ordered them to kill Obika when they got beyond the forest of Umunneni.

Immediately Offorbuike mentioned that he had ordered them to kill Obika, Nnediocha vanished from where she sat and appeared before him. She reached for his throat and almost strangled him, for she loved Obika dearly and could not bear any news of his death. But she was cautioned by Onwa, the moon goddess who still stood in the sky and looked upon her and the entire village.

Onwa spoke to Nnediocha in spirit and told her that Obika was still alive; that his abductors were taking him beyond the forest of Umunneni to drown him at the rivers of Umudike and let his body float away. Nnediocha released Offorbuike and hastily walked towards the Obi almost in tears. She told the Obi to gather ten of his fastest and strongest warriors and send them with Offorbuike to retrieve Obika.

The Obi, who knew how fierce the hunters of Umudike could be, suggested to Nnediocha that it was possible that Obika was dead, but she could not bring herself to believe that, so she insisted that the Obi did as she said. At once Ogwugwu, the chief priest, selected the strongest of their warriors and they all returned to the palace of the Obi to collect their weapons and battle attires, and then hurriedly returned to the market square.

Nnediocha blessed them, and called on her father Anyanwu and her mother Onwa, to guide the warriors on their quest to find Obika. She gave them water from the Abaniocha River which her sister, Mmirioma had brought in a jar. Anyone who drank from the jar would never go tasty again and would be guided by the ancestral spirits of Umunneni. Nnediocha and the entire villagers bided them farewell while the Obi mandated them to bring Obika back to them, dead or alive.

After the warriors had left with Offorbuike, Nnediocha walked around and talk with the women of Umunneni who had come out to witness Offorbuike’s confession and possible punishment. She took particular interest in the newly married maidens who were pregnant. They all gathered around her and her mermaid sisters and shared experiences of their pregnancy pains and the changes they felt in their body.

She also told them that she loved Obika so much and that she too was pregnant for him. She admonished them to often come to the river in the evenings to commune with Onwa, the goddess of the moon through her. She also admonished them not to be envious of other people’s successes.

She narrated to them how envy brought about jealousy among the Gods who lived together with Chukwu Okike, the creator, and how Chukwu Okike divided heaven into different parts and gave each God his/her own domain to rule over. She concluded by saying that it was envy that drove Offorbuike and Obumneme to plot to kill their brother and friend Obika.

Meanwhile, Ezenneni, the leader of Umunneni was in deep discussions with the high chiefs and elders of the village. They deliberated and wondered what Nnediocha’s reaction would be if Obika was to be found dead or never found at all. Ogwugwu expressed his fear that Nnediocha might abandon and curse their people out of heartbreak.

Some of the elders prayed that Obika would be brought back to them alive to avoid any repercussions from the Gods, Ani, Igwe, Onwa, and Anyanwu, who loved Nnediocha so dearly. As they were carried away in their deliberations, Nnedicoah walked away from the women with her sister mermaids and her crocodiles and walked towards the Obi and the elders.

She greeted them once more and told them that she would love to take her to leave because she needed to be alone and pray for the safe return of Obika. The Obi thanked her for her patience and kindness and promised her that his warriors would do their best to bring Obika back to her unharmed. She let out a smile, bowed to the entire village in greeting and waved them farewell. While she walked with grace back to the Abaniocha River, the moon slowly returned to her place and gave way to the sun to rise in all his beauty.

Deep in the Umunneni forest, just before the rivers of Umudike, the hunters who abducted Obika stopped to hunt for antelopes. They wanted to eat before they could continue on their last stretch of bush paths leading to the Umudike River. They tied him to an Nkwu tree where they made camp. They spent the entire afternoon resting and eating under an Udara tree and made a jest of Obika’s relationship with the mermaid queen.

And while they rested, the warriors of Umunneni ran all through that day to catch up with them. Offorbuike who was a hunter knew the forest paths, so he ran before them leading the way. Deep down he hoped that Obika was still alive for fear of what Nnediocha would do to him. By sunset that day they had almost covered the distance between them and the hunters of Umudike, who were still resting.

That night, eight of the warriors rested and ate to regain their strengths, while two of their leaders, fondly called Edinweofia and Okwute together with Offorbuike scouted the forest paths. They planned to pick up the trail which the hunter’s footprints had left behind. At about midnight, they came upon the camp of the hunters of Umudike and planned to crawl up and steal Obika, to avoid any bloodshed. While they drew closer, one of the hunters who kept watch by a small fire saw them and shouted, waking his fellow hunters who lay battle-ready.

The hunters jumped up from the ground and immediately pulled out their swords and spares in defense of their positions. The one who had kept watch had already gone after Obika who was lying half dead and dehydrated. He reached Obika before Okwute did and untied him. He tried to carry Obika on his shoulders but couldn’t and so he dropped him. He was caught by the fierce-looking Okwute and both men engaged in combat.

Okwute who was stronger overpowered the hunter and forced his sword through his ribs. When the hunter’s dying scream was heard by his colleagues, they stroke out in anger and tried to fight their way out and escape. But they could not subdue Edinweofia, for he was a seasoned warrior and he also had the divine protection of the Onwa, the Moon Goddess. Okwute hurriedly joined Edinweofia and Offorbuike to fight the remaining two hunters.

They overpowered them and split their skulls on the roots of the giant Udara tree. They immediately ran to Obika to make sure he was still alive, and on getting to the spot where he lay, they found him bleeding from the back of his head. The hunter from Umudike had stroke him with his sword while he untied him, hoped that he would die before the warriors could save him.

Offorbuike who was remorseful for what he had done to his brother and friend, let out a loud cry, held Obika in his arms and watched his life disappear before him. Okwute removed his bull’s horn and blew it four times to signal their fellow warriors to rally to their aid.

Edinweofia immediately went around the bushes and gathered Onugbu leaves to grind and apply to the spot where Obika bleed from. They could not give him water immediately, to avoid him choking and dying on them. It didn’t take long before the other warriors arrived at the Udara tree. They were shocked to see the lifeless bodies of the hunters heaped at a corner of the bush and the almost dead Obika being attended by Okwute and Edinweofia.

One of the warriors, Echebiri, who had been trained by Ogwugwu in the art of healing, quickly unpacked his tiger skin bag. He brought out cotton made from sheep’s hair, portions made from roots, and ointments and went straight to trying to revive the dying Obika. They tried all they could but his condition became even worse and Echebiri could feel Obika’s spirit leaving his body.

When Echebiri told the other warriors that Obika would not make it, one of them lashed out in anger and fear of Nnediocha’s retribution and pounce on Offorbuike. He held him by the throat with his left hand and punched two of his front tooth out before Okwute could restrain him. The tension was really high among the warriors and so they all agreed to waste no time and head back to the village that night. That night, Onwa the mood Goddess, shone so bright over Umunneni that it seemed like the day.

The warriors carried Obika on their shoulders and walked all through the night, into the morning of the Affor market day of Umunneni. They entered the village from the farmlands and hummed warrior songs, all to keep Obika’s spirit with the living. The entire village was still calm since they had not heard any news of the warriors and Obika. Okwute removed his bull’s horn and blew it to alert the entire village that they had arrived.

At the sound of his horn, the villagers ran out from all corners to welcome them. Women and young girls gathered and cried while they followed the warriors who still hummed their song for the wounded Obika. The Obi and Ogwugwu the Chief priest heard the horn sounds from the palace and knew there was trouble. They had convened that morning with some of the Ndi Ichie and were praying for the safe return of Obika and their warriors.

At the fourth sound of the horn, they all matched out, almost running, to meet up with the warriors. The warriors were headed for the palace with almost the entire village walking behind them. The Obi, the chief priest, and the elders met them halfway and enquired from them the current state of Obika, but the warrior’s mood and demeanor said it all.

The Obi asked them to quickly take him to the Abaniocha River so that Nnediocha could try and heal him. While they all matched to the banks of the Abaniocha River, they came upon the fortune tellers and medicine men from the surrounding villages. They had followed the moon, Onwa, and the Sun, Anyanwu from the previous morning when they both stood above Umunneni.

The fortune tellers greeted the Obi and people of Umunneni, and quickly enquired from Ogwugwu what was going on. Ogwugwu who was very much worried gave them brief details of what had transpired between Obika, his friends and the hunters of Umudike. When they arrived at the banks of the river, Ogwugwu blew his ritual-flute and informed Nnediocha that they had arrived with Obika.

The warriors lowered Obika’s body to the ground, and the river bubbled vigorously with the water busting up to the heights of the Nkwu trees that flanked the Abaniocha River. From the great disturbance came fort Nnediocha with all her beauty and anger, and her skin glowed like the sun was beneath it. She came unto the shore of the river and went straight to Obika, who lay in a stretcher made of Omu Nkwu and Igu Nkwu (palm fronds and palm branches).

She lay by his side and wrapped her arms around him, but his body was already cold and his spirit had already left for the great beyond. Nnediocha called on her sister, Mmirioma, to bring her the water in the jar of the Gods, so she could give to Obika and bring his spirit back to the realm of humans.

Mmirioma knew that if Obika was truly dead then there was no way he could return as a human to his own body; but she could not argue with Nnediocha, for she was full of sorrow and believed that Obika could be brought back. As Nnediocha fed Obika the water from the jar, the fortune tellers and medicine men from the surrounding villages had joined minds with Ogwugwu and were mixing a concoction that might return Obika’s spirit in exchange for the life of a black goat.

Some of the young women who the mermaid queen had spoken to the previous day at the market square, rallied round to get a black goat. They wanted to save Nnediocha’s lover and assure her that they were good people. While the ritual was going on, it started to rain everywhere around the village, but for the riverside where the villagers gathered round Obika’s lifeless body. There were intense thunder and lightning.

The God, Igwe, came down in the form of a white ram, as huge as a horse and stood at the other end of the Abaniocha River to watch what was to be of Obika. Anyanwu, the God of the sun stared with his eyes blazing from the sky and wondered what their mortal brethren would do to save the man his daughter loved.

The other mermaids and crocodiles came out unto the land to bask in the light of Anyanwu and to bow before him. The clouds came down almost touching the top of the trees that flanked the Abaniocha River and the entire atmosphere changed before the very eyes of the villagers.

Ogwugwu poured the blood of the goat into a calabash and marked the forehead and feet of Obika. He and the other medicine men walked round Obika speaking in parables and incantations. And to everyone’s astonishment and joy, Obika let out a huge breath and sat up. Nnediocha ran to his side to talk to him, but he didn’t recognize her or anyone of them.

She tried to remind him of who he was, but he just stared at them without words. And so Nnediocha carried him and swam over to where Igwe stood in all his glory, to ask him to revive his memories. But Igwe consoled her and told her that Obika had left the land of the living and that bringing his spirit back would mean that he would come back with the memory of a baby.

He said that the only way that Obika could ever be with her again as if he was to be transformed into a male mermaid, to forever live in the depths of the Abaniocha River. After deep thought, Nnediocha who had no other option of seeing and being with the love of her life agreed to the propositions of Igwe.

And before everyone present, Igwe ascended into the clouds with Obika’s body. Immediately they vanished, a new and more handsome Obika appeared in the middle of the river, with his climbing rope hung across his chest. Nnediocha swam towards him and embraced him to the cheer of everyone standing at the river banks.

That day, the Gods, the mermaids, and the humans made a pact that there would never be any form of relationship or romance between their kinds anymore. The lesson learned from Offorbuike’s envy and Obika’s departure from the land of the living was to serve as a warning to generations unborn.

And four months later, under a full moon, Nnediocha gave birth to Adaugo at the banks of the Abaniocha River. Adaugo was given to Ogwugwu to be nurtured and brought up in the ways of humans as the direct descendant of Obika the great palm wine tapper of Umunneni.

Story Written By Chuka Nduneseokwu

Copyright 2017 @ Chuka Nduneseokwu

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